Start time of chemotherapy: 11:00a.
Usual start time: 10a.
Somehow God set that up, I’m sure, just to bring that smile, be it the sole and only reason. And I am grateful.
And I am grateful today that I got to participate in the kids craft! Total perk of being treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital: there are sometimes crafts! Joy! Here is the result of 1 given wooden treasure chest, 1 foam paint brush, 1 watercolor brush, and (my favorite) a make-shift palette/hospital throw up bin full of bright, bright acrylics (smile again):
I obsess over this passage, it’s true. I naturally draw vines and branches on my notes as doodles, on my notebooks, and now my treasure chest that I will treasure. I truly treasure these words:
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
The Vine, The Vine. He truly gives me sustenance and life! The Vine is always naturally, freely giving its sap to its branches. He is always freely giving me his Holy Spirit, his life to provide, support…all really so I can truly live and not just simply live. My role is to just simply be and receive. Wow. How many times do I make my life, make following Him so much more complicated than that? Gratitude, gratitude.
Gratitude: I had to only take 4 chemo pills today instead of 7 since I gained weight! yay!
Gratitude: my long-time friend Megan visited me today and took selfies on my phone when I wasn’t looking (caught ya!)
Gratitude: friends making and dropping of food for my parents and I during this chemo week. Such a provision! (thank you Lindsay. thank you Eileen.)
Gratitude: for receiving life-giving energy to be at Central Teaching and catch up with friends.
Today’s gratitude is not even the beginning of it all. I tell you sincerely: the Lord has been building me up, giving me deep nutrient Holy Spirit sap to this small vine in order to sustain me for this new treatment week, round 3. I have seen the sap as it flows to me:
Sap: catching up with my good friend Sarah, her wisdom showing over me, her love and joy and time uplifting and encouraging.
Sap: receiving insight on the Lord on how to sustain relationships and discipleship/mentorship and getting to see those lady loves Halley, Megs, Celeste.
Sap: realizing that we live in such a technological age! and how much I should take advantage of the fact I am going through this now of all times and use technology to communicate, reconnect, sustain relationships even when I am not always present around the ones I long to see always.
Sap: having a clearer mind, my chemo brain/veil lifted by Him earlier than usual! and sap/Spirit showing me ways to best use those clear, clear moments the best. so productive. so needed!
Sap: hands me over books that contain my very thoughts, doubts, the insights, encouragement I need from fellow survivors (thank you Jared. thank you Molly. thank you Mrs. Weber. thank you Eileen, my fellow branches)
Sap: introducing me to living, physical HOPE through other fellow survivors. Sap/Spirit directing my steps to walk at an event my surgeon has created specifically for the family of cancers (sarcomas, bone) that I am relative to (Ewing’s Sarcoma). Through that walk, reuniting with old-friend survivors (Jared, Ashley) and meeting new ones (Molly, Ashleigh) and meeting other members of their lives who were right alongside them through it all.
Sap: you are clever, dear sap. The walk was hosted yesterday, and today I’m back at treatments. He knows what I need.
one of the most beautiful fall days, encouraging & uplifting!
I could go on, you see, with the sap/Spirit life, but there is too much. He has filled my cup, and it is over-flowing. And He is ever-present and ever-working. How could I ever begin to give an accurate picture of all He has done to prepare me, to revive me, to sustain me, to heal me in this past week to bring me to this upcoming treatment week?
Which that thought is interesting. And got me wondering. Dear friends, I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t 100% confident, 100% joyous come yesterday in thinking about going back to treatment today. I felt so well physically, mentally, spiritually. It was cold, cold water-reality that no actually I am not well and need medication, need chemo still come tomorrow. There, in my diaphragm, dread physically laid there, thick sediment at the bottom, gross, dark, deep, sometimes rising.
Lord, how can I possibly go from feeling healthy and “normal” and joyous to going back to fatigue, sickness and depression? WHERE IS THE IN-BETWEEN? Is there a balance? Can there be a balance?
An image comes. A verse to mind. The chemicals of the truth-photo combining with the Light again.
Recall, my soul:
“for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
For the first time, I’m beginning to understand this, God’s knowledge, this wisdom. His joy is my strength! Because haven’t I seen that? His joy, His Spirit and I know it will not leave me: I am not an orphan (john 14.16-18). Recall a dear teacher and fellow branch, Ajith Fernando: “Where the joy goes, the strength goes.” It’s always there for me! Help me to see it more clearly! Help me to ask for it and be humble enough to, even if it is just to drive or move or just be!
You see, my thoughts were all wrong. The Lord can and will sustain me, the joy, the strength during this week and the following, the rougher ones. And I completely believe that He provides at times extra-rich moments, moments we know that we need to see Him and His love at work in order to supply the comfort and healing and, ultimately, restore and build up confidence in Him. Like a good farmer, He knows when the Garden, the plants need more nutrients, more attention, to grow and be life-giving. But then after those moments, He does not stop working, neither the farmer or God, like I think they do. They continue to, in just ways that I don’t always see at first or now as a mere finite human being can’t possibly see or feel as obviously as before since it all comes from an infinite being God. It’s a lie, a small one, that I believe that He sometimes just stops during the treatment weeks, that joy is impossible, that strength has to come from me only through physical resting. But that is not true! And to realize that is the joy and provides the strength that I need for these weeks.
Help me Sap/Helper/Advocate/Spirit to remember and ask you to remind me and see these things, the joy and strength you provide me daily!